For digital marketers, search engine optimization (SEO) can be invaluable. Optimizing a website so it attracts search engine traffic is something every good marketer should aim to do. E-commerce may feel like it’s dominated by B2C sales, but by 2020 B2B e-commerce sales may surpass them. You won’t want your B2B business to miss out on this growth period, so now is a great time to enhance your SEO efforts.
Improving your SEO is a great way to increase your B2B sales due to its ability to attract your target audience in an organic way. 90 percent of B2B marketers reported that “audience relevance” is the top reason content marketing is effective, according to HubSpot.
For those of you who are new to the practice of strategic SEO, let’s review what exactly SEO is, how your business can benefit, and how you can increase your traffic with it. Boosting your SEO rankings can take time and work, but with a few tricks, you can increase your website’s traffic and sales leads.
The SEO Basics
What Is SEO?
SEO is a commonly used acronym that stands for “search engine optimization”. The main goal of SEO is to make sure your website has a strong search ranking. Why? Because the better your search ranking, the more visible your website will be in an online search, leading to more “organic” (unpaid) clicks. For every one click on a paid search result, organic search results generate 8.5 clicks.
The higher you rank in a search engine — showing up on the first page of search results instead of the tenth — the more organic traffic your website will receive. When someone is searching for a business, products, or advice that falls under your area of expertise, you want them to discover your website quickly.
90 percent of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand when they start their search. This means that by creating high-quality digital content and resources, you have a prime opportunity to establish trust and respect with your consumers.
Why Google Matters
When researching SEO, you’ll soon discover that if content is queen, Google is king. Different search engines still have similar ranking processes. However, you should be tailoring your SEO efforts to succeed with Google’s algorithms. In the first month of 2019 alone, Google accounted for over 78 percent of all global desktop and mobile search traffic.
How to Increase Traffic
Quality is Important
Producing longer, high-quality content is one of the best ways to increase your SEO ranking. There are a few reasons. For one, longer content has more keywords that will rank in search, but keywords are only one aspect of how SEO works. Content that provides value should increase the time readers spend on your website. Search engines like Google see a longer time on page as a sign that readers found value in your content.
If Google’s algorithms predict that readers value your content, Google will rank your content higher. David Sayce, digital marketing consultant and director of Paper Gecko believes, “Quality will continue to be a factor with speed and security continuing to be key. Older websites that may not have been updated in some time will continue to suffer.”
Stick with It
SEO traffic builds over time. You can’t expect to be a viral sensation from the get-go. Gaining a high search engine rank does not happen overnight, but with effort, you can strengthen your position over time.
Understand Google RankBrain
As previously mentioned, Google is the main search engine you should be aiming to rank highly on. Back in 2015, Google confirmed the existence of RankBrain, which is a component of Google’s core search algorithm. It uses machine learning to determine the most relevant results to any given search engine query. RankBrain’s goal is to understand the true intent of a search.
Gary Illyes, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, shed some more light on this topic during a recent Reddit AMA. According to Illyes, RankBrain uses search data to predict what someone may click on when searching for something that hasn’t been entered into Google before. Understanding how search engines rank content will help you optimize your content for SEO.
Optimize Product Descriptions
High-quality blog posts help boost SEO traffic, but there are other ways, too. If you’re looking to sell products, don’t underestimate the strength of strong product descriptions.
When writing product copy, try to impress both consumers and search engine algorithms. Product copy should be informative and feature necessary keywords, but avoid “keyword stuffing.” Google warns against keyword stuffing, which it defines as “the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.”
To stay on Google’s good side, avoid adding too many keywords to your text. Google searches for prose that isn’t “natural” due to having too many keywords included in web copy. You want your product descriptions to be unique so they rank better in search and appeal to customers. While you should aim to fit in keywords, don’t overuse them.
Get Linked Up
One way Google determines whether your website deserves a high rank is through the use of “backlinks”. A backlink is a link that refers clicks to your content found on websites other than your own. For example, if a popular restaurant review website mentions your pizzeria and they link to your menu, that would be a high-quality link. Quality backlinks help build your website’s authority and trustability in the eyes of search algorithms.
Google, in particular, takes both the quantity and quality of backlinks into consideration when determining a website’s authority. You’ll have to be creative to gain quality backlinks. Public relations efforts may help you gain earned media—that is, editorial mentions in the press. Or you can share your expertise as a guest blogger on another site.
The best way to gain backlinks for your business will vary, but it will usually require work on your end.
How to Land the Sale
Create a Strategic Landing Page
Once you’ve attracted users to your website, your work is not done yet. 68 percent of B2B businesses use strategic landing pages to acquire leads. Not all SEO leads will convert to being paying customers on your home page, so it’s important that you optimize all pages of your website to generate leads. Creating authoritative and valuable content is just one way that you can gain leads from SEO results.
According to Accenture, most B2B buyers are already 57 percent of the way through the buying process before they meet with a sales representative. Leading potential clients or customers to strategic landing pages may help you seal the deal. Having a clearly designed website that allows new users access to your offerings is key to turning search engine traffic into sales leads.